Glossary of Legal Terms


An indictment is also known as a 'charging instrument'. You can also be charged with what is called a 'prosecutors information'. That is the document that lists the United States of America as the Plaintifff ( or 'The People of the State of ______') and you as the Defendant.

A grand jury indictment is issued by at least 12 of 16 to 23 people (the grand jurors) after what is supposed to be an investigation (their actual duty is to investigate the investigators) and a vote of at least 12 to make you stand trial.

A prosecutor's information is another form of charging instrument in which a prosecutor draws up the charges against you and then submits the document to a judge. If the judge approves it, you have just fallen into the criminal justice system.

If you can 'break' an indictment you can quite often get out of the charges and predicament you are in.

Miranda Warning

A 'miranda warning' gets its name from the Supreme Court case, Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). The case held that statements given without the warning that those statements could later be used against you in a court of law could not be used as evidence against you.

Later, appeals courts have 'watered down' that holding considerably. A typical example: U.S. v. Villalba-Alvarado, 345 F 3d 1007 (8th Cir. 2003).

'Plaintiff-Appellant' the United States of America appeals the suppression of physical evidence derived from a violations of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), as well as the suppression of Defendant-Appellee Angel Benito Villalba-Alvarados later, post-warning/post-waiver statements also derived from the earlier Miranda violation. We reverse. The post-waiver statements were voluntary and are admissible notwithstanding the earlier Miranda violation. United States v. Fellers, 285 F. 3d 721, 724 (8th Cir. 2002), cert. granted, 123 S.Ct .1480 (March 10, 2003) (citing Oregon v. Elstad, 470 U.S. 298, 309 (1985). Further, we join the Third and Fourth Circuits to hold that a Miranda violation does not demand the suppression of derivative physical evidence if the non-Mirandized statement was voluntary.

Pre-Emptive Strike

A 'pre-emptive strike' is a lawsuit you file against a prosecutor before he brings criminal charges against you. Quite often, you will know it is coming, (a lot of federal agents have become so arrogant that they will send you a letter before any evidence is presented to a grand jury, telling you that you are going to be indicted and for what). What a pre-emptive strike does is inform a prosecutor of some of the issues he is going to have to deal with, the fact that the 'law of the predicator' may not work in your case and he and your own lawyer may not be able to bamboozle you into taking a guilty plea to a defective case. Pre-emptive strikes appear to be fairly effective as the major of people who mount (file) them do not get charged.